Hands-free phones a major distraction


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– Brake’s reaction

Research out by the University of Utah shows that driving performance is dramatically impaired when using a hands-free mobile phone for 97.5% of drivers.

Drivers on hands-free mobile phones took 20% longer to hit the brakes when needed and following distances increased 30% as the drivers failed to keep pace with simulated traffic while driving. Memory performance declined 11%, and the ability to do math problems fell 3%.

Ellen Booth, Campaigns Officer for Brake, said: “The evidence is overwhelming. Using a hands-free or hand-held phone while driving is dangerous, full stop. It’s time that our politicians took note and put an end to the ridiculous situation where using a hand-held mobile is banned, but using hands-free isn’t.”

“Using a hands-free phone isn’t safer than using a hand-held because it’s the conversation that’s the distraction. The person on the other end of the phone can’t tell when you are coming up to a junction or trying to manoeuvre so they will keep on talking and distracting you and expecting you to answer. To drive safely you need to give your full attention to the road. If you need to make a call or check your messages, pull up in a safe place first.”